Wednesday, January 9, 2013

nap transitions

It began shortly after Mason's first birthday. Running around the crib. Babbling and playing instead of sleeping. Taking longer and longer to fall asleep at his normal nap times. Falling asleep too late in the morning and then boycotting his afternoon nap. Falling asleep too late in the afternoon and then tossing and turning for more than an hour at bedtime. And so it goes on.

Now, nearly four months later, we are still transitioning down to one nap. It's ruthless! While I'm reluctant to give up Mason's morning nap, this time in limbo is killing me. I like a predictable schedule. I don't like having to wait and see if he sleeps in the morning or not, and then that determining our schedule and activities the rest of the day.

Mason's not quite ready--or at least I don't think he is--to give up his morning snooze. When he doesn't take his morning nap, he's an absolute bear by 10:30 AM--whiny, grouchy, and clingy. And even though I put him down an hour early for his afternoon nap, he's overtired by then and doesn't sleep as long as he needs to, making the rest of the day and bedtime rocky. Will he ever take one 3-hour nap a day, as other mothers swear by? That feels like a myth to me right now!

My strategy, which seems to change every couple of weeks, is currently the following:
  • Put Mason down at his normal morning nap time (9 AM). He has 45 minutes to fall asleep. If he falls asleep, don't let him sleep more than 30-45 minutes. If he takes a morning nap, put him down at his normal afternoon nap time (1:30 PM). He can take as long as he needs to in the afternoon to fall asleep, but don't let him sleep past 4:15 PM so he's semi-tired for night-night at 7:30 PM.
  • If Mason boycotts his morning nap, put him down at 12:15-12:30 PM. When this happens, he normally falls asleep pretty quickly, but he often cries out during the nap and sometimes only sleeps 75-90 minutes (and then he walks me over to the stairs and asks for night-night at 5 PM).
Currently, Mason takes a morning nap about every other day. Even though taking a brief morning snooze makes it harder for him to fall asleep in the afternoon, he's in better spirits on days when he gets two naps. He still sleeps great at night.

Another mom told me that I'll "just know" when Mason's ready and it's time to bite the bullet and forgo his morning nap. Is this true? What has your experience been?


Amy- Taylors East said...

All the kids at our daycare transition to 1 nap at/around 1 year old. Maevy did the same thing. I would recommend doing lunch at 11ish and then 1 long nap afterwards- which should between 90 minutes and 2ish hours. Maevy used to and soemtimes still naps for 2 1/2, even 3 hours. I'll send the schedule they use in the Toddler 1 room at our school. Maybe it will help. :)

Lorelei said...

Bram (17 mo) and my niece (15 mo) are having nap issues as well. It seems like it must take awhile to transition. We are still doing 2 naps most days. He's a little different than Mason. He will go down quickly for the morning nap, but then may or may not go down in the afternoon. I can't bring myself most days to wake him up from the morning nap, though! It's my time to catch up from the morning rush and get a few things done. And then there's always the worry that he will protest the afternoon nap, even if I kept his morning nap short, which would be hard on everybody. I'm sure we'll all get this worked out in the next 6 months or so!

Jennifer said...

Ouch, this was a rough time for us (mostly with Katie), and it did seem to take a few months of playing it by ear and being flexible with schedules. I think you're doing the right thing to encourage a short morning nap, even if it is frustrating. Emily was a bit easier because quite often her morning nap had to be taken on the go, with her sister in preschool and errands that needed completing in the morning. She just went with the flow, but she didn't have much of a choice. Both girls were close to 18 months (I believe) before the morning nap was completely gone. Keep your eye on the prize! That single long afternoon nap is fabulous. (I write this as both girls, now 5.5 and nearly 3, are mid-nap.)

kerryandtorey said...

I am so jealous that he actually takes a nap! that became a foreign concept here before H turned 2. I think he is probably ready to drop 1 altogether. I would just put him down earlier in the afternoon. I am also super jealous of the kids who ever nap longer than an hour. Best of luck!

Thrift Store Mama said...

Your strategy sounds good. I remember this transition as challenging. And yes, keep your eye on the prize: my oldest daughter regularly napped for 3 hours !

Diane Mannina said...

Not sure if you've tried this yet, but when Bella started showing signs of transition, I went ahead and planned out a week's worth of morning activities. I had Bella out and about during her usual morning nap time for one whole week straight. I think she was so distracted by the activities that she forgot to be tired, and her afternoon naps were great! That jump started the nap transition really well for us, and I only remember having to slip in morning naps sparingly after that. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

We're going through something similar (sleep issues). It sucks!!! I have no advice...but good luck!